Lakehead University Alumni Magazine

Editor's Message

Teaching as Activism

Frances Harding
Published April 29, 2010

At a recent meeting of the Lakehead University Magazine Editorial Advisory Committee it was suggested that we devote an issue to the theme of arts and culture, showcasing some of the work associated with Lakehead's Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. Hence our cover story on Michel Beaulieu's fascinating research into the history of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Canada and other stories focusing on visual art, music, and literature. We hope you like it.

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities is the largest Faculty at Lakehead, housing approximately 30% of total full-time undergraduate enrolment in 2009-2010.

Gillian Siddall and Donald Kerr
Gillian Siddall and Donald Kerr
It includes 12 academic units: English, History, Indigenous Learning, Languages, Music, Northern Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Outdoor Recreation, Parks & Tourism, Sociology, Visual Arts, and Women's Studies.

According to Gillian Siddall, the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities and an Associate Professor of English, it is primarily in these courses where students develop the knowledge, experience, and critical thinking skills to become full-fledged citizens who participate in meaningful ways in developing and sustaining a just society.

"It is in Social Sciences and Humanities courses that we learn about culture, human behavior, and the dynamics of power and how existing power relations can be challenged," she says. "These courses play an important role in fulfilling Lakehead's mission of ‘educating students who will be recognized for leadership and independent critical thinking and who are aware of social and environmental responsibilities'."

Last December, Lakehead hosted a Symposium on Teaching and Learning that explored the theme Teaching as Activism. It brought together about 80 faculty members and students from the Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses to discuss many topics including environmental education, ecological literacy, and the imperative and dangers of activism in the classroom. The theme was inspired by a book, Teaching as Activism, co-edited by Peggy Tripp and Linda Muzzin.

"Reflecting on teaching as activism forces us to think about our own values, and the relationship between these and our teaching," says Donald Kerr, Associate Professor of Education and Chair of the Symposium Committee. "As Peggy Tripp observed in Teaching as Activism, 'I am inspired by the energy of my students and their commitment to sustainability. I also try to follow the advice I give to them: Take time to pursue hope with reading and discussion and become empowered with community activist work of your choice for sustainability... [Your] reward is in the creation of opportunities for expressing your values and in the satisfaction of expressing them well.' "


My aunt recently moved into a new home in British Columbia. The former residents forgot to forward their mail, so when the Fall/Winter 2009 issue of the Lakehead University Magazine arrived, she had nowhere to send it and decided to read it.

She found the articles so interesting and informative that she contacted me to see if it would be possible to ensure that she continued to receive the Magazine. I think it’s great that someone who hasn’t lived in Thunder Bay for over 15 years and has never attended Lakehead would be so interested in the publication.

Brendan Hughes (HBOR’98, BA’98, BEd’03, MEd’09)
New Student Orientation and Commuter Services Officer, Office of Admissions and Recruitment


Donna Jeanpierre
Donna Jeanpierre
After graduating, Donna Jeanpierre (BA'96, BEd'98) completed a diploma in Journalism at Cambrian College in Sudbury and then spent seven years living in Ireland, Belgium, and France. She returned to Thunder Bay in 2007 and now works for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Since 1988,
Peter Puna
Peter Puna

Peter Puna has been a vital part of Lakehead University's creative team in Graphics and Photography, specializing in portrait, art, and landscape photography.

If you have a connection to Lakehead and would like to make a contribution to the Magazine, contact the Editor by email:

Tip a Friend

Multiple Recipients?
Separate the email addresses with a comma.

Word Verification Audio of Word Verification
Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Your Email Subscription

Let us know if you would like to:
Subscribe OR Unsubscribe

Submit Class Note

Do you want your email address public?
Word VerificationAudio of Word Verification
Type the characters you see in the picture above.